Simon Cowell On One Direction: “I Don’t Know If It’s A Hiatus Or A Breakup”
“I don’t know if it’s a hiatus or a breakup, to be honest,” Cowell says of the band’s current time off. “In a weird way, I don’t want to know. I don’t think they’ve had enough time to experience what it’s like not being in the group to really answer that.”
Cowell, of course, put Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik together on “The X Factor UK” in 2010 and has overseen their careers. Now bonafide superstars, the mogul understands the guys have been worn down by the craziness of last the five years. “Whenever I was with them, we talked about it, and I couldn’t argue with them,” Cowell says of taking a break.
He continues, “They had achieved so much in a short period of time, and I didn’t want them to get jaded. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to trust people more, particularly artists. They’ll decide when they want to come back together.”
Malik’s exit was also a complication. While he’s no longer working with Cowell’s Syco, the label is under Sony, just like Malik’s new home, RCA. “Zayn is still signed to our company. But the boys hadn’t bought into the fact that he was leaving, so out of respect for them, it wasn’t the right thing to put him on Syco,” he explains, insisting, “What’s good for Zayn is good for us, good for the show and good for the brand.”
Tomlinson is the only band member who spoke to Billboard for the Cowell feature, and the singer says, “Simon was completely understanding when we told him we wanted to go on a break. Not once did he put any pressure on us. Most people would’ve tried to give us at least a nudge. But he didn’t. That’s a real reflection of his character. Once you get to know him, he’s lovely and kind.”
Tomlinson even reveals, “Simon is one of the first people I told about my son, Freddie. You can trust him.” Cowell actually calls One Direction a “nightmare” in the early days (“They were like five puppies — really excited, loads of opinions, always wanted to hang out”), and Tomlinson laughingly agrees.
“I’m sure we were a nightmare,” he says. “We were at the height of our immaturity, always running around and being mischievous. There were so many meetings where Simon had to snap us to attention, but he was very patient.”
While Tomlinson is rumored to possibly join “X Factor UK” as the hiatus continues, Cowell speculates about whether Styles will release solo music. “He’ll work out what kind of record he wants to make because he’s got great taste — which is always a help,” he says. “All the writers and producers want to work with him, understandably, but he probably won’t rush into it.”